Regular exercise has numerous advantages for us humans as well as our pets. It helps build muscle strength, keeps weight in control, boosts metabolism, and provides socialization opportunities.
The best way to exercise with your pet is to take them on a walk. We know what you’re thinking: a dog walk is an excuse for a potty break. While that may be true, there are several benefits of walking your dog that can last for a lifetime!
In this blog, we will shed light on some of the top reasons why you should take your dog for a walk regularly. We will also give you some tips to get started.
Benefits of Walking Your Dog
A dog walk is just another form of exercise for you and your pet that enables both of you to stay fit all year long. Large dog breeds like German shepherds and huskies require a lot of movement in order to relieve the energy they build up inside, and exercise is just the way to do that.
Dog walking not only gives you the chance to exercise but also helps improve your pooch's physical, mental, and emotional health in several ways. However, before taking your dog out on a walk for the first time, consult your veterinarian about your pet’s health conditions and any adverse effects that regular walking might have on them.
Physical Health Benefits
1. Dog Walking Improves Joint Health
Like in humans, joint pain and arthritis are extremely common in adult and senior dogs, especially large breeds like the German shepherd. If your pooch is experiencing joint pain or sore muscles, consider walking it regularly.
According to Harvard Medical School, regular walking in dogs helps ease muscle sores, increases flexibility, and keeps joints in motion. It also helps keep bones and tissues in the lower body healthy.
2. It Prevents Digestive and Urinary Problems
One of the immediate benefits of walking your dog is a healthy digestive system and urinary bladder. Pooches that walk regularly have a high metabolism and have fewer chances of suffering from constipation, diarrhea, or Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs).
Many dogs like to urinate or go to the potty when they are outside in an open environment. Routine walking helps prevent constipation and allows your dog to empty its bladder, thereby preventing the chances of getting infected.
3. It Aids in Weight Management
Obesity is a significant health issue and can be a trigger for various health problems, especially in young dogs that need to eat more for optimal growth and development. Walking, however, prevents this from happening. When your dog walks, it burns excess calories, which helps shed off the extra pounds and maintain the ideal weight.
4. It Helps Reduce Blood Pressure
Dogs can suffer from hypertension or increased blood pressure levels. This increases the chances of heart-related diseases and strokes. Among the many benefits of walking your dog, reduced blood pressure is an essential one. According to the American Heart Association, practicing aerobic activities like dog walking 5 days a week for 30 minutes can improve cardiovascular health for you and your pooch.
5. Dog Walking Also Controls Blood Sugar Levels
Low-impact exercises like dog-walking can help increase insulin sensitivity by controlling blood sugar levels. It also helps keep sugar levels in control for an entire day till it’s time for you and your dog to go out again for a walk!
Mental and Emotional Health Benefits
1. Dog Walking Boosts Happiness
Walking in an outdoor space gives your pet a chance to connect with nature and take in the fresh air. It boosts the level of serotonin in the brain, which is a feel-good hormone. There is shared happiness between the dog walker and the dog when walking in each other’s company, creating strong bonds and increasing happiness levels.
2. It Helps Your Pet to Socialize
Your dog is very likely to cross paths with other pooches during its walk. Interacting with other animals will allow your dog to learn how to behave in acceptable ways. It will help build up confidence and enable your pet to make new friends. A well-socialized dog knows how to act around other dogs and engage in playful behavior without causing any danger to another life.
3. Dog Walking Gives Your Pooch a Chance to De-Stress
One of the mental health benefits of walking your dog is the opportunity to de-stress. Being confined to one space or inside the house will cause your dog to become bored very quickly, increasing frustration levels and enabling bad habits like excessive barking and chewing. Letting your dog explore the outside world and familiarize itself with different smells, sights, and sounds can put an end to destructive behavior. Walking also provides the mental stimulation that helps reduce anxiety levels. It will assist your dog in sleeping better at night.
Tips for Dog Walkers
· Change speeds during walking to raise your heart rates and track your movement.
· Make sure your dog is keeping up with you.
· Take your dog to new places every few days to enjoy different elements of nature.
· Say hello to other people on your walk, especially those with pets that your dog can interact with.
· Step out in sufficient daylight and let your dog soak in the vitamin D for optimal health.
· Set a target for a specific number of steps or kilometers for you and your dog to increase motivation.
· Take along plenty of water for your dog and some for yourself too.
· If your dog decides to poop during the walk, shovel it up to stop contaminating the environment.
· Make sure your dog is wearing identification (ID tags, special leashes) if your pooch gets separated from you.
Go On. Walk!
Walking with your dog can help you reflect on your mood and put you in your happy place. Consider dog walking as an evening enjoyment activity rather than a tedious chore. The benefits of walking your dog can have a significant positive impact on your and your pet's health. Take your pet out for a walk today, and remember to be consistent with it to reap the maximum benefits!